Thursday, December 15, 2016

Moonspell - Can't Bee

Short and sweet today. I have a few friends that are metalheads and we swap suggestions for new bands decently often and today's suggestion comes from Farshad, "Can't Bee", by Moonspell, a Portugese Gothic Metal band. You can find their music on these sites: Napalm RecordsAmazon Music - Apple iTunes - Google Play Music - Spotify

Artist: Moonspell
Song: Can't Bee
Album: The Butterfly Effect
Year: 1999
Genre: Gothic Metal


Thoughts: I don't normally make an appoint to listen to Gothic Metal because it's usually too "slow" for me. I generally don't listen to metal to relax actually, I listen to downtempo for that, so the intro to this song threw me for a loop. I was expecting the entire song to be melancholy with some heavy guitar at some point, and was actually pleasantly surprised by the quality guitar that comes in at about the 2-minute mark. I'll definitely be exploring this band further. Thanks again to Farshad!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Keep of Kalessin - Typology

I'm really glad that there is such a focus on harder metal in Scandanavia. Without that focus, we wouldn't have great bands like Keep of Kalessin. All is not well though, the former front-man for the band was fired from the band after going on a spirit-quest in the African jungle.... For three months... Issues aside, I honestly prefer the new vocalist more than the old one. To each their own though, I'm just glad that they continued making quality music. You can find their music on these sites: Nuclear Blast Records - Amazon Music - Apple iTunes - Google Play Music - Spotify

Arist: Keep of Kalessin
Song: Typology
Album: Heaven of Sin
Year: 2016
Genre: Black Metal, Death Metal

Thoughts: Like I said above, I really like the new vocalist (who's actually the founding member responsible for guitars, keyboards, bass as well!) and the inclusion of sampling a movie quote is rather interesting -- I listen a lot of music that samples arcane movies/shows/etc and its generally hit and miss -- and they nailed it in this song. The powerful and consistent guitar was another plus in this song for me. Keep of Kalessin is a Death Metal band, so you can expect a sound consistent with the genre -- vocals are no exception -- but I really enjoyed their healthy variation of pitch and tone that kept things fresh and kept me guessing while I was listening. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Behemoth - Ora Pro Nobis Lucier

Black metal gets a bad rap for it's association with Satanism and anti-religious ideologies/lyrics, but it's not like the people listening to it or the artists who write it are out in the forest sacrificing goats on giant pentagrams drawn on the ground - So why the hate? It seems that people can't separate the idea that this is music, not a manifesto of actions or beliefs.

One could go further and make the claim that the "violent and hateful" lyrics are warping the minds of our youth, for which they would apparently be right. According to Anderson, Carnagey, Eubanks (2003), there is a positive correlation between violent lyrics, aggressive thoughts, and hostile feelings. No meta study was performed, no other pre-existing factors were accounted for (personality, ethnicity, age, financial status, musical preference, etc), and they only tested college students. Given the small sample size and likely near-homogenous pool of participants, this study should be redone with a larger and more representative group of individuals in order to confirm its initial findings - not to mention that they only proved a correlation, NOT causation. To top it off, the study only compared an individual's self-reported feelings while listening to one song as opposed to a different song - no FMRI study was performed. The results are dubious at best.

All associated negativity aside, it seems that this band, Behemoth, is *also* banned in Russia. Surprise, surprise. The lyrics, while hard to understand, are pretty intense and sing of praise and empathy for Lucifer - not quite fit for "relaixing weekend music". I ran into this interesting question and answer while researching the lyrics for the song and laughed pretty hard. Cleverly disguised lyrics always add a comedic bit to a song and serve to remind us that this is clearly intended as art, not a guide to reality. You can find their music on these sites: Metal Blade RecordsAmazon Music - Apple Itunes - Google Play Music - Spotify - Behemoth Web Store

Artist: Behemoth
Song: Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Album: The Satanist
Year: 2014
Genre: Blackened Death Metal


Thoughts: I love the song for how powerful and intense it feels. It has that perfect combo of complexity and dark lyrics from Black Metal and the intensity and speed from Death Metal. The lyrics are pretty funny in a certain light if you Google them, but perhaps they're not meant to be funny. The band has been around for 25 years and have dedicated themselves to 10 full studio albums filled with dark and Satanic lyrics -- they're either very passionate and creative in this vein of lyricism, or they're actually musically-talented Satanists. Last I checked, Satanists weren't a united front dedicated to terrorism, slavery, or oppression, so I don't feel bad supporting the band by buying their music.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Cannibal Corpse - Kill Or Become

The name that evokes fear in old, stodgy conservatives planet-wide -- Cannibal Corpse has drawn controversy for its brutal lyrics and equally brutal musical style. If you want aggressive, angry, and powerful lyrics and sound, Cannibal Corpse is your best bet. Sure, you could find some angrier screamo band that might match the intensity you're looking for, but CC does it best -- the lyrics are intelligible, their instruments are well paired, no one sound overpowers another, and they're a far cry from being labeled as 'noise'. Talent aside, their reputation is a stellar one:

- Banned from touring in Australia and people looking to purchase their music must be over 18

- Accused of "undermining the national character of the United States" and there was an attempt to coerce their music label into dumping them (along with 20 other bands)

- Their first three albums were banned in Germany and they couldn't perform any songs from those albums while touring until 2006 because a random teacher threw a fit about their band shirts.

- Russian Orthodox Christians successfully cancelled six of eight tour destinations in Russia in 2014, which of course led to rioting fans and threats of arrest against the band by the Russian Police.

In the situation of CC, I don't imagine that they're too bummed about cancellations/controversy, after all, "there's no such thing as bad publicity". It would be a different case if someone like Bono were banned from touring or selling albums, as CC clearly goes for "shock value" in their recordings and tours. You can find their newest album on these sites: Metal Blade Records - Amazon Music- Apple Itunes - Google Play MusicSpotify

Artist: Cannibal Corpse
Song: Kill Or Become
Album: A Skeletal Domain
Year: 2014
Genre: Death Metal

Thoughts: I'm really not a fan of the lyrics, but I do enjoy the overall sound and would love to see them play live some day, I'll just have to be sure to remember to wear my steel-toed boots that day. I really prefer their newer albums, their older songs have that "tinny heavy metal" sound to them that could either be an artifact of the original recordings, or just part of their sound. That being said, the remasters of their older albums are much more tolerable. I know remastering is an abomination and clutters up songs and attempts to cram as much sound into as many possible audio channels as possible, but in the case of the available older recordings, I honestly can't stand the tinny sound to them.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Soilwork - Light The Torch/Deliverance Is Mine

Based on my past posts, can you guess why I like Soilwork? Their inclusion of a synth and melodious interludes from the harsh vocals are a great contrast in their musical style making them an easy-listen for people not-yet able to fully handle regular Death Metal, but are still aggressive enough for even the seasoned metalheads. Lucky for me, they're a rather prolific band and have been consistently putting out new albums every 2 years or so since they formed in 1995. Their newest album, "Death Resonance" is filled with rare releases from their older singles and albums but also has two new songs. You can find the album on these sites: Nuclear Blast Record Label - Amazon - Apple Itunes - Spotify

They comissioned music videos for three of their songs , "Light The Torch" off of 'Figure Number Five', "Spectrum of Eternity" off of 'The Living Infinite', and "Deliverance Is Mine" off of 'The Panic Broadcast' seven years later as a followup to the first video. Check out the two related videos below:

Light The Torch - 3:24

Deliverance Is Mine - 3:36

Artist: Soilwork
Song: Light The Torch / Deliverance Is Mine
Album: Figure Number Five / The Panic Broadcast
Year: 2003 / 2010
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


Thoughts: I really prefer their older albums, the new ones feel like they're trying to cram every single bit of sound possible into a song and it doesn't sound right unless you have a very expensive audio setup that's capable of playing it back accurately (I tested it on one such setup and then compared it to generic Apple Earpods, the difference is night and day -- or rather, music and noise.) A lot of their songs are hit or miss, but it's still pretty easy to find at least two or three songs per album to love. I feel similarly with most bands to be honest, so rare is it that I find an album that I love 100% of. I'm not being a snob when I say that, everyone's ears are different and I'm no more wrong for liking what I like than you are for liking what you like -- "To each their own", yes?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Mind Shelter - B612 (Zardonic Remix)

I found out about Zardonic the day after Christmas in 2012 and it felt like Christmas all over again -- especially since he was giving away a free album at the time (Metal Up Your Bass (2012 Revamp)). You can still find a preview of the album here on his official Youtube channel along with a tracklist in the description.

Federico Ágreda, a Venezuelan keyboardist and D&B artist is the one-man band that is Zardonic. Despite the fact that most of his works are remixes of other famous songs within certain niche musical genres, he still manages to draw massive crowds when he tours. His signature characteristic is the custom-made mask that he wears for photoshoots and performances (the hair is actually made of various AUX/RCA cables!)

Artist: Mind Shelter
Remix Artist: Zardonic
Song: B612
Album: Unknown
Remix Album: Metal Up Your Bass (2012 Revamp)
Year: 2009?
Genre: Metalcore, Bass Metal

Thoughts: While researching this song, I really couldn't find any good links to anything about the band itself or concrete info about release dates. Discogs lists B612 as their only song, and the band site leads to a  page covered in Japanese writing, but I digress. Listening to the Zardonic version and then listening to the Mind Shelter version really makes me appreciate Ágreda's skill as a musician. I wouldn't listen to the Mind Shelter version even if someone paid me, he really rescued and revamped the song. B612 is actually the song I've listened to the most off of his Metal Up Your Bass album!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Metallica - Hardwired (New album!)

Metallica seems to be a love/hate band. You'll find three camps of people with opinions about Metallica: "Kiddie Metal", "Love em", or "Who?" It seems Metallica is releasing a new album called "Hardwired.... To Self-Destruct" this Friday (November 18th) and they've released a few of the songs early on their Youtube page. My favorite so far has been "Spit Out The Bone" which was leaked by someone a few days early but has since been pulled from Youtube for copyright violations. I assume they were then kidnapped by Metallica and are currently being tortured in a basement somewhere. 

I honestly prefer their older songs, but you have to give them credit -- they formed the band back in 1981 and have been taking progressively more time between each album as time goes on. They are human after all, so some grace and understanding is necessary. They're well past their prime (they're all in their early 50's now), but still manage to put out good/okay music (if you disagree, we'll have to agree to disagree, no need to get nasty). That's more than most bands can boast, not many survive for 30+ years and keep putting out new music. Many classic bands will continue to tour or do collaborations, but few have the energy, time, or desire to dedicate themselves to a full length album anymore. 

Kudos to Metallica for still touring and producing, and congrats on the new album!

Artist: Metallica
Song: Hardwired
Album: Hardwired... To Self-Destruct
Year: 2016
Genre: Heavy Metal


Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this song and their newest album. The guitar and drums are on-point and amazing as always, but the vocals feel a bit... strained? The band members are much older now than they were in their hay-day, so it's not surprising that their vocal style would change (one of my favorite Death Metal vocalists *ruined* his voice by growling too much, not kidding...).  I enjoy the vocal style they had in the 90's moreso than their current style, so my interest/disinterest balances out. I'd give the album a 7/10 for effort and instrumental skill -- the whole album is definitely worth a listen if you're an old Metallica fan or enjoy Heavy Metal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Serentiy - Oceans of Ruby

I found this song in 2009 and haven't stopped listening to it since. The different styles that go into this song are perfectly interwoven. You get the Power Metal guitar and synth, the creativity of lyrics and harmony of Progressive Metal, and the intense growls of (melodic) Death Metal all woven together to form a masterpiece. I'd definitely recommend listening to Serenity if you like any of those three genres.

Artist: Serenity
Song: Oceans of Ruby
Album: Fallen Sanctuary
Year: 2008
Genre: Power Metal, Progressive Metal

Thoughts: The gradual fade-in and quick change to powerful guitar/synth combo as a lead in to the main chorus is a common melodic/power/progressive metal style and I love it. There is so much you can do with it and still keep the sound fresh. Some intros/outros get stale rather fast, as (most) every band that uses those particular styles seem to use them in the exact same way and offer little-to-no variation in how they're used - down to the same timing, beat patterns, and overlapping end vocals.